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FootballNewsArsenal’s Stan Kroenke given green light for Rams as son takes NBA and NHL assets

Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke given green light for Rams as son takes NBA and NHL assets

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By Nick Harris

26 August 2010

The NFL’s official approval for the US billionaire Stan Kroenke to take full control of the St Louis Rams will see control of other key American sports assets pass into the hands of his son, Josh, and provides the second sign within a fortnight that no full takeover at Arsenal is imminent. Kroenke is Arsenal’s biggest single shareholder, with a few shares shy of 30 per cent of the club.

In April this year, Kroenke, 63, who has a personal fortune estimated at around £1.9bn and is married to the independently wealthy Wal-Mart heiress, Ann Walton, said he wanted to exercise his right to buy the 60 per cent of the Rams that he didn’t already own.

But under NFL cross-ownership rules, ‘Silent Stan‘ is technically barred from owning 100 per cent of an NFL franchise if he has full ownership of other major sports franchises in other cities where NFL franchises are based. He already owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the MLS’s Colorado Rapids, all based in Denver, among other assets. So the cross-ownership rules prevent him owning the Rams because Denver has an NFL franchise, the Broncos (owned by Pat Bowlen).

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However at an NFL meeting in America, the NFL has unanimously approved Kroenke’s proposal to take full control of the Rams, as he long as he switches formal ownership and control of the Nuggets and the Avalanche over to someone else, and in this case it will be to his 30-year-old son, Josh. Financial control must be switched by the end of this year, and Stan Kroenke’s stake in these other teams must be diluted by December 2014.

“Obviously, all of us know and respect Stan,” said the NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell, said at a press conference reported on the NFL website. “He’s been a terrific owner in the NFL, and we’re confident he will continue to be a great owner.”

Kroenke also made a rare appearance and made self-deprecating jokes about his ‘Silent Stan’ nickname, arguing he isn’t shy or reclusive, just busy. A profile of Josh Kroenke is online now at the Denver Post.

Kroenke’s full acquisition of the Rams will cost around £300m for the 60 per cent he doesn’t own, which even for a billionaire isn’t pocket change, and signals no immediate intentions to launch a full takeover at Arsenal, which would cost some £400m or more.

As we reported earlier this month, a new Arsenal fan-ownership scheme has been launched by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, with the back of all the key stakeholders in the club, thereby giving Kroenke’s tacit approval to the ongoing plurality of ownership at The Emirates.

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